My senses pick the paint colors, canvases

12 07 2011

It’s 5:30am and the light begins to filter in through my window. I quietly slip out of bed and throw on some clothes. As I step into the hotel lobby, the already warm humid air greets me letting me know that today will most likely be even hotter than the last. As I make my out the front doors, I wave off any offers for a taxi or scooter ride and step out onto the street. With my camera in hand, I go into shooting mode: my eyes, ears, and nose open for business.

The bustling city of Nha Trang is already awake at this early hour. The streets are inundated with motoscooters and cars. Young people litter the beaches and oceanfront as they get in their early morning swims before heading off to their day. The older generation cast silhouettes over the children as they practice their Tai Chi on the beach directly behind them. Street vendors are roaming the streets, staked out on street corners, calling out to potential customers, “Porridge! Porridge! Who wants porridge?”

I cross the street towards all this activity, dodging scooters and bicycles, narrowly missing a date with the headlights of a small twenty-person tour bus. The driver leans on the horn as he barrels on by me and I barely even notice: everyone honks his or her horn at everything all the time. With my elbow firmly twisted into the camera strap, I go to work, letting my senses pick the paint colors and canvases: the beautiful sunrise, parked bicycles, children playing in the water, an elderly man exercising, two girls on a bench giggling over an SMS conversation they are having with someone –presumably a crush, a woman in the traditional pointy leaf hat squatting next to her pot of soup, stirring it periodically wafting the delicious smell of breakfast into the air.

I shoot, and I shoot… and I shoot. As they say on the battlefield, “shoot now, ask questions later.” It’s no mystery as to why photography experts say there are only two real times of the day to take pictures: sunrise and sunset. I discovered this firsthand as the warmer, redder light cast stunning shadows and lit up faces and objects in a way that gave them a beautiful orange glow. I admit, there was a bit of discrimination involved in my subject selection. Alas, humans are not perfect, and if there are two things that humans find fascinating in photographs: it’s children and old fogeys. I’m a sucker for an audience; so, many of my shots highlight the youngest and oldest generation of Nha Trang.

After an hour and a half of looking like a tourist (perhaps a professional tourist), I make my way back to the hotel and find that I had shot over 400 photos. I head upstairs to my room to take a quick shower and then head off to my free buffet breakfast, a suitable reward for my morning of hard work. Not a bad day before 7:30am, I’d say.




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